about what is called emancipation; and even now, their notion of it is, according to one witness, the restoration of their church to its ancient supremacy; according to another, the recovery of the forfeited estates.* Whichever of these expectations they may entertain, and I think it probable that they entertain them both, it becomes the House to consider, whether if this bill be passed into a law, it will satisfy the great mass of the Roman Catholic peasantry, when they find that it confers upon them neither of those boons; although in effect it carries one of them in its train? To what lengths their feelings of disappointment may drive them, if the measures should not be carried, I pretend not to foresee. I confess I am not altogether free from apprehension. But be those feelings what they may, this I will venture to assert, that they owe their existence to the artifices of a few political agitators-I use


* "Ask them what Roman Catholic Emancipation is, and so totally ignorant are they about it, that some say it is an exemption from tithes: others, it is to lower rents; others, that it will save taxes! In short, all who have heard of it (for many neither know nor care about it) will give you their own conjectures of whatever claim, debt, or demand, public or private, they wish to be freed from: scarce any believe it to be what it really is, a struggle for a few offices of political influence, or seats in Parliament, which the lower ranks cannot enjoy, and feel no interest in. These lower ranks do not, and cannot urge what they neither want nor comprehend. It is not, therefore, they who call for this measure."-Speech of Lord Oriell,


the term advisedly and deliberately, for one of the most conspicuous of their leaders, not long ago, thanked his God that he was an agitator a knot of men, who have thrown this leaven into the mass, predisposed from other causes to ferment, in order that while the vast body heaves and swells under the process, they may themselves be lifted to the surface.

"This view of the subject is amply justified by the evidence before your lordships' committee. It was not till the Catholic Association commenced its operations that the great body of the Roman Catholics in Ireland began to think much of emancipation as it is called; a question, which, as it directly affected only a few, was not likely to trouble the repose of the many; who, if they had been permitted to enjoy in any fair proportion, the produce of their honest labour, would have cared but little for the exclusion of a few of their richer brethren from Parliament. That it has not hitherto been to them a cause of discontent, is proved by the fact, that their propensity to outrage and lawless violence has not diminished in proportion to the successive relaxations of the penal code. In fact, they hardly know that such relaxation has taken place; a plain, an undeniable proof, that former concessions, far exceeding in number and importance those which remain to be made, have had no effect whatever on their conduct or their comfort.

"It is also a proof that those persons on whom

the Roman Catholic peasantry depend for information and instruction, have thought fit to withhold from them that knowledge, which, if imparted, would have been a persuasive to loyalty and contentedness, and a sedative at least to feelings of insubordination. The motives of that class of persons who have kept the people in ignorance of those benefits, which were represented to be of vital importance to them, I pretend not to assign. But this I will say, that it is precisely the line of conduct which would have been pursued by those, who, having a far greater and more perilous object of enterprize in view, would treat as insignificant and trivial all the preliminary points of conquest. It is consistent with the policy of skilful engineers, who regard the successive removal of barriers and outworks only as opening the way for an assault upon the citadel. Such would be the policy of these, who value even the admission of their lay brethren into Parliament, only as facilitating the accomplishment of their grand scheme, the establishment of the Roman Catholic upon the ruins of the Protestant Church:

'Actum, inquit, nihil est, nisi Pœno milite portas

Frangimus, et media vexillum pono suburra.'"

"But if," says the Quarterly Reviewer, "what is called emancipation would not, in its widest extent, satisfy the Roman Catholics, without ulterior measures, (of which undefined expectations we know what are the end and aim,) can it be


expected that it should satisfy that class of Irish who are represented by Dr. Mac Nevin in America, and act under Captain Rock in Ireland? What says O'Connor to this? 'Degenerate sons,' he says, 'who have so entirely lost all relish for liberty, as to prophane the sacred name by identifying it with admission into the foetid temple of corruption, and call their treason Emancipation! What says the incendiary who writes in Captain Rock's name? 'Catholic Emancipation is of no avail, and only calculated to open wider the door to claims of greater importance.' And again: Now, at the end of all these many days of many years, the account of all the spoliations, massacres, degradations, and insults heaped on the Irish people, is proposed to be balanced by the one pitiful item, Catholic Emancipation. This measure, instead of spreading contentment throughout the land, would heighten the fever of the Irish mind to a pitch of phrenzy, occasioned by disappointment: for assuredly the Catholic body will derive no advantages from the concession of their claims, though founded on truth, reason, and justice. Ye oligarchy of England! emancipate the Irish slaves, and some few traitors will, no doubt, enlist in your ranks; howbeit you will derive no greater portion of power from their desertion of their fellows than what the mere individuals bring: their ephemeral influence, potent for raising a whirlwind, will vanish on the instant. This is

a bold rebel, who speaks as he thinks, and in this instance tells the whole truth. No concessions can satisfy the republican party, (a growing party, dissemble it who will, both here and in Ireland,) nor those who are bent upon separating the two countries, in whatever that separation might end. As little, alas! would Emancipation remove or tend to remove any one of the many evils which have rooted themselves in that long misgoverned kingdom-a kingdom in which it has too long been manifested to how great an extent

Power might without goodness be,

And base subjection without loyalty.'"


That the real object of the Roman Catholics is the overthrow of the Protestant religion.

"It is a sagacious remark of Horace Walpole's, 'that large bodies are only led by being in earnest. themselves when the leaders are not so.' The multitudes whom the Irish demagogues have put in action (and whom they represent as millions) are in earnest, because their views are national and religious; not to mention that Irishmen of their class, are always in earnest when they are

« ElőzőTovább »